Paris Hilton sentenced to 45 days in jail
A judge has sentenced Paris Hilton to 45 days in jail. He rules that she was in violation of the terms of her probation in an alcohol-related reckless driving case.Updated: May 05, 2007 10:26 IST
A judge sentenced Paris Hilton to 45 days in jail for violating her probation, putting the brakes on the hotel heiress' famous high life.
Hilton, whose relentless partying gained worldwide notoriety, must go to jail by June 5, and she will not be allowed any work release, furloughs, use of an alternative jail or electronic monitoring in lieu of jail, Superior Court Judge Michael T Sauer ruled.
Saying "there's no doubt she knew her license had been suspended," the judge ruled that she was in violation of the terms of her probation in an alcohol-related reckless driving case.
"I'm very sorry and from now on I'm going to pay complete attention to everything. I'm sorry and I did not do it on purpose at all," Hilton told the judge before he announced the sentence. She was ordered to report to a women's jail by the set date or face 90 days behind bars.
The ruling excluded her from paying to serve time in a jail of her choice, as some people are allowed. As a city prosecutor said during closing arguments that Hilton deserved jail time, Hilton's mother, Kathy, laughed. When the judge ruled, Kathy Hilton then blurted out: "May I have your autograph?" When a reporter asked a visibly angry Kathy Hilton after the hearing what she thought of the judge's decision, she responded: "What do you think? This is pathetic and disgusting, a waste of taxpayer money with all this nonsense. This is a joke."
Paris Hilton testified she believed her license was initially suspended for 30 days and that she was allowed to drive for work purposes during the next 90 days.
When an officer who stopped her in January made her sign a document stating her license was suspended, she said she thought he was mistaken and did not actually look at the document. Hilton's spokesman, Elliot Mintz, testified that to his knowledge, Hilton did not drive during the 30-day period. He said he then advised her that he believed her license was no longer suspended.
The judge called Mintz's testimony worthless and expressed disbelief at Hilton's lawyers.
"I can't believe that either attorney did not tell her that the suspension had been upheld," the judge said. "She wanted to disregard everything that was said and continue to drive no matter what."
Hilton did not speak to news media as she left court. Her mother looked upset.
Defense attorney Howard Weitzman said he would appeal. "I'm shocked, I'm surprised and really disheartened in the system that I've worked in for close to 40 years," Weitzman said. He said the sentence was "uncalled for, inappropriate and bordered on the ludicrous."
"I think she's singled out because of who she is," Weitzman said.
Hilton had arrived at the courthouse 10 minutes late and ignored the screams of photographers as she swept in with her attorneys, mother and father, Rick Hilton. Wearing a gray jacket and white shirt over black slacks and with a black headband on, she said nothing and appeared serious.
Hilton, 26, pleaded no contest in January to reckless driving stemming from a Sept. 7 arrest in Hollywood. Police said she appeared intoxicated and failed a field sobriety test. She had a blood-alcohol level of .08 percent, the level at which an adult driver is in violation of the law.
She was sentenced to 36 months probation, alcohol education and $1,500 (euro1,106) in fines.
Two other traffic stops, and her failure to enroll in a mandated alcohol education program, are what landed the socialite back in court.
On Jan. 15, Hilton was pulled over by California Highway Patrol. Officers informed her that she was driving on a suspended license and she signed a document acknowledging that she was not to drive, according to papers filed in Superior Court.
Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies stopped Hilton on February 27 and charged her with violating her probation. Police said she was pulled over after authorities saw the car speeding with its headlights off.
A copy of the document Hilton signed on Jan. 15 was found in the car's glove compartment, court papers say.
Hilton was also required to enroll in an alcohol education program by February 12. As of April 17, she had not enrolled, prosecutors said.
Hilton, heiress to the Hilton Hotel fortune, first gained notoriety for her hard partying as a teen. She attracted worldwide attention when a sex tape she made with a boyfriend was released on the Internet.
She stars in the reality-TV series, "The Simple Life," now in its fifth season, with Nicole Richie. She appeared in the 2005 film, "House of Wax" and recently finished filming "The Hottie and the Nottie." She also is a handbag designer and has a namesake perfume.
(Additional contribution by Daisy Nguyen)